Deets: The James Beard Foundation announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 26th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs and bakers. See this year’s full semifinalist list at the end of this press release or online at jamesbeard.org/awards.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a press conference at the Presidio Officers’ Club in San Francisco, California. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
The James Beard Awards Gala will take place at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2, 2016. During the event, which is open to the public, awards in the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards, including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.
How the Restaurant and Chef Awards Work
The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. This year, more than 20,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee reviews to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 21 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant. The list of semifinalists is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors, Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards Committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May. Awards policies and procedures can be reviewed on the James Beard site at www.jamesbeard.org/awards/resources.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.
The 2016 James Beard Awards are presented in association with HMSHost, Lexus, and Mariano's; and the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Airlines, Lenox Tableware and Gifts, True Refrigeration®; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Breville, Goose Island Beer Company, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Skuna Bay Salmon, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Braveheart Black Angus Beef® from PERFORMANCE Foodservice, Ecolab, Groupon, Royal Caribbean International, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts; with additional support from: Chefwear, VerTerra Dinnerware, and Wisconsin Cheese. The James Beard Foundation also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Choose Chicago, and the Illinois Restaurant Association.
About The James Beard Foundation
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thoughtleader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org.